A woman who started her long career in caring for the elderly by making a quick visit to the home where he daughter worked as a tea girl and ended up staying for over 30 years has been shortlisted for a prestigious award.
Back in 1985 June Lyons was invited one day to take a quick look around Ty Draw Lodge in Penylan, Cardiff where her young daughter Rachel was working as a part-time helper.
June was asked by the manager if she fancied a job there too, had a successful interview and started as a care assistant. She then went on to be a reliable, caring and diligent Registered Manager who has dedicated her life to the home.
She fell into love with the place and its residents and eventually rose to become the manager, retiring earlier this year after three decades in charge.
It is her lifetime of dedication and commitment to her role that has landed 70-year-old June, who lives in Rumney, a place in the final of major national competition, the 2018 Wales Care Awards.
This is the 15th anniversary of the awards and the glittering presentation ceremony will be held at City Hall in Cardiff on Friday October 19.
The awards are in association with Care Forum Wales, a not-for-profit organisation which is celebrating its own 25th anniversary this year after being set up in 1993 to give independent care providers a single professional voice with which to speak on one of the most important issues of our time – how to provide better quality care for those who need it most.
June is shortlisted for the Outstanding Service Award sponsored by Hallmark Care Homes.
Originally from Cardiff, June started work in a children’s nursery but when she had her family switched to the role of home care assistant with Cardiff social services.
She recalled: “When she was young my daughter Rachel was working at Ty Draw Lodge making tea for the residents. I went along to pick her up one day and had a look around. I was asked to have an interview for a job, ended up getting it and never looked back.
“I began as a care assistant working at weekends which fitted in with my family life.
“I then took various training courses and eventually became the home manager. I retired last June after over 30 years, which I understand made me the longest serving care home manager in Cardiff and perhaps even Wales. But I had a fantastic team around me who helped me very much.”
June, who will have been married to her husband Philip for 50 years next year and has three sons, one daughter, seven grandsons and three granddaughters, added: “The things I loved most about my job as manager at Ty Draw Lodge were being able to give people a choice about how they were going to live the rest of their lives and making a difference to those lives.
“During the many years I was manager we must have received thousands and letters and cards from relatives of residents thanking us for how we had looked after them and it was nice to be recognised for doing a good job.
“When I was nominated for the Wales Care Awards I was a bit shocked at first because I’m just used to working in the background and have never flown the flag for myself but when I calmed down a bit I must say I was delighted about it.
“I’m now looking forward very much to going along to the awards evening in Cardiff.”
“I have seen her cover half shifts in the middle of the night, too often this meant leaving her family to do so, but she was always happy to make compromises between her home and work life to ensure our residents had the best possible care they could. This is just one example of how she always put the wellbeing of the residents first.”
Mario Kreft MBE, the Chair of Care Forum Wales, said the Wales Care Awards had gone from strength to strength.
He said: “This year’s ceremony is an even more special occasion because it marks the 15th anniversary of the Wales Care Awards and the 25th anniversary of Care Forum Wales and the event is now firmly established as one of the highlights in the Welsh social care calendar.
“The aim is to recognise the unstinting and often remarkable dedication of our unsung heroes and heroines across Wales.
“The care sector is full of wonderful people because it’s not just a job it’s a vocation – these are the people who really do have the X Factor.
“If you don’t recognise the people who do the caring you will never provide the standards that people need and never recognise the value of the people who need the care in society.
“We need to do all we can to raise the profile of the care sector workforce – they deserve to be lauded and applauded.”